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Dentistry Memphis

Replacing Metal Fillings with Composite Fillings

Memphis Tooth-Colored FillingsTooth-colored fillings are the popular choice today when you need a cavity filled. But what if you have old amalgam fillings?  

With the concerns about mercury in amalgam fillings as well as the unattractive appearance of these metal fillings, many of our patients wonder if they should replace their amalgam ones with tooth-colored composite fillings.

In some cases, such as when an amalgam filling is showing signs of failing, there is no question that the filling should be replaced. But, if the filling is stable, then the answer may come down to personal preference.

Cosmetic dentist Timothy S. Messer, with offices in Memphis, can explain the benefits of tooth-colored fillings as well as examine your amalgam fillings for signs of failure. Unstable fillings give decay a foothold so they should be replaced. This would be an ideal time to swap out amalgam fillings with more attractive tooth-colored ones. However, if your tooth is now suffering from advanced decay, Dr. Messer can recommend a more appropriate restoration, such as porcelain crowns.

However, if your amalgam fillings are still doing their job, you should discuss the pros and cons of removing them with your dentist.  Dr. Messer can assess your teeth and explain the condition of your fillings so that you can make an informed choice.   

Why Replace Metal Fillings?

  • Health Concerns. Amalgam fillings contain mercury, which makes them controversial. Though there are no studies proving that the mercury in fillings is harmful, many people prefer to avoid the risk altogether by choosing composite fillings.
  • Allergic Reaction. If you have a proven sensitivity to amalgam, you would want to replace your metal fillings.
  • Old Fillings. All fillings age and at some point need to be replaced. Loose fillings allow bacteria into the tooth and cause new decay.
  • Cosmetic Reasons. Hands down, a tooth-colored filling blends in with your teeth and is more attractive than a metal filling. Metal fillings can also cast a grey hue to the entire tooth. 
  • Tooth Strength. Tooth-colored composite fillings bond directly to the tooth, strengthening it.

Things to Consider

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recommend removing metal fillings unless it is necessary because the process can cause more harm to the tooth. However, if your fillings are old, it may be an opportune time to replace them with composite fillings.

Tooth-colored fillings are:    

  • Attractive. Tooth-colored fillings blend in with your other teeth, restoring a natural-looking smile.
  • Safer. In addition to the mercury issues, amalgam fillings expand and contract when exposed to hot and cold foods. This can crack or break a tooth.
  • No Discoloration. Unlike metal fillings, composite ones will not discolor a tooth, making it look grey.
  • Less Destructive. Less tooth structure needs to be removed to prepare for a filling, maintaining the tooth’s strength.

Next Steps

If you are concerned about metal fillings, you should consult a dentist to determine what condition they are in. This will help you weigh the benefits of replacing them with tooth-colored fillings. Please call today if you would like guidance. 

Tagged In: Dental Fillings, Cosmetic Dentistry

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I have been to several dentists in the Memphis Area and I have finally found THE ONE!! Dr. Messer is the best dentist I have ever been to. I have complete confidence in any procedure that he performs and I can't imagine ever going to any other dentist.

-Meredith Page B.